20/20 in Hindsight

by Julia Cardi

The long-awaited Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center commissioned by the Department of Veterans Affairs opened in July. But the well documented fallout resulting from the construction project’s notorious mismanagement overshadowed the ribbon cutting: Years of construction delays, hundreds of millions of dollars in cost overruns, a lawsuit and investigations by the Office of Inspector General.

Public opinion and official reports have tended to lay blame for the project’s mismanagement on the Department of Veterans Affairs. But regardless of who shoulders the blame, the lessons from the fiasco are also relevant for other construction industry players, including contractors and designers.

Sherman & Howard member Ryan Klein said a key takeaway for parties responsible for a project’s design is that they need to consider whether design elements are reasonable based on cost, even if they are technically possible. “It shouldn’t be a question of ‘Can we do it?’ but it’s a question of ‘Should we do it?’”

To read this story and other complete articles featured in the October 22, 2018 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.